Ever hear the phrase “expect the least from those who talk the most”? That phrase can be applied to yours truly, Tom Kelly, the creator of IHateWeddings.com when I had to give a toast at a wedding.
I am not proud but I have given the worst toast in wedding history. It wasn’t just bad. It was offensive.
Mike never made me feel bad about it. Even his wife just said “I hope you learned something from the experience.”
From my mistakes, I have LIFE LESSONS on how to mimimize toast disasters.
At the time of his wedding, Mike had been my best friend for 16 years. Many years ago, Mike and I made a deal. I would be a groomsman at Mike’s wedding provided he promised to give the eulogy at my funeral when I die.
Realize, I made the deal thinking I would never have to carry out my end of the bargain.
Here are some simple lessons we learned at Mike’s expense November 19, 2005.
Rule Number 1: Toast Givers Should Have No More Than One Drink Before The Toast
I don’t drink before I go on stage. I learned this rule after I lost a male beauty contest “Mr. Quinnipiac” when I was in college. After half a gallon of Jack Daniels, I thought that during the talent competition it would be a good idea to throw water filled condoms at the judges. The night ended with me picking a fight with a fraternity and swimming in a lake known as “Hepatitis Creek.”
The more alcohol in your system, the more likely you are to make an ass of yourself.
Rule Number 2: The Toast Should Be Immediately After The Cocktail Hour So Toast Givers Adhere To Rule Number 1
In all fairness to me, I thought I was giving the toast at 7:00. I had timed my drinking so I’d be slightly tipsy by curtain call which was scheduled for at the start of dinner.
Bad timing and a reduced tolerance for alcohol had affected my calculations.
I was scheduled to say what I had to say right after everyone sat down. My words were to follow those of the father-of-the-bride, Mr. Cronin. He gave a very charming and well prepared toast that lasted about 20 minutes.
Despite being brilliant, it was on the lengthy side. As they were about to call my name, the groom’s mother said she wanted to say a few words. She stole my three minutes. I was like the lame-ass human interest guest at the end of Letterman. The best man and I got bumped and rescheduled for after dinner.
Rule Number 3: The Toasts Should Be Early So The Guests Aren’t Too Drunk
This is where things started falling apart.
At 8:15, the guests were asked by the DJ to settle down so I could give my toast. The dinner conversation dulled to a soft yet distracting roar. I began speaking. I had memorized a speech, which on paper was full of emotion; references to dead relatives and my love for Mike.
I started the speech.
“Mike is my best friend.”
As I was pouring out my heart, inches below me one of the bride’s cousins was kneeling at the table barely two feet before me. She was a bit drunk and was talking to the bride’s other relatives as if a train were passing by.
I politely looked down at her and said “Hi, I’m giving a toast. Could you give me a second?”
I started over: “Mike has been my best friend for 16 years.”
Once again, I was pouring my heart out. The bride’s cousin was presumably tipsy and continued her conversation. Again, I was drunk too. All of a sudden I forgot I was at a wedding. I suddenly thought I was at a late show at the Chuckle Hut in Toledo.
I looked down and said “Seriously, you’re going to have to shut the fuck up.”
That’s right. I dropped the F-bomb at a wedding filled with children, parents and business associates. The dull but distracting roar became a deafening silence. Life long friends looked on with shame and horror.
It didn’t matter what I said after that. I dropped the F bomb in front of 89-year-old Great Aunt Margaret, who came all the way to New York from Ireland to see her favorite niece get married.
It would have been classier if I listed the STDs the groom contracted in college.
So if you’re planning a wedding soon or going to be a part of a wedding soon . . . remember:
Rule 1: Toast Givers Should Have No More Than One Drink Before The Toast
Rule 2: The Toast Should Be Immediately After The Cocktail Hour So Toast Givers Adhere To Rule Number 1
Rule 3: The Toasts Should Be Early So The Guests Aren’t Too Drunk